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Monday, October 8, 2007

A Needle Infinity Haystacks

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Where do you start looking in infinity?

I looked up "art gallery" in a google search and a "wikipedia" entry yielded a list of contemporary art museums. At the top of the list in North America was THE HIGH MUSEUM, because it is located in Atlanta, Georgia. I looked up the HIGH's website and clicked on their collections, sub-menu DIRECTOR's FAVORITES- and there she was, located in the upper left hand corner, "Alma Sewing."

For me, this represented a systematic search of where I could logically begin my personal survey of art available on the web, and specifically art acknowleged by the academy.

"Alma Sewing" shown above, is listed with the following description:

Francis Criss
1901 - 1973
Alma Sewing
ca. 1935
Oil on canvas
33 x 45 inches (83.8 x 114.3

As a slide image, found online the sense of scale has to be imagined: but the dimensions would put figure at less than a third of actual size. This means that this suggests a certain amout of intimacy about the image. This compliments the setting which looks to be a sewing workshop that is both comfortable and well-used.

Color quality and depth is hard to judge from a slide reproduction, however, the palette seems naturlistic and the handling of the red in the foreground works well with the use of white to keep all parts of the painting activated. Furthermore, the rich brown skin tone of the of the figure looks ruddy and echos the healthy, industrious, and warm feeling the overall color composition conveys.

The figure is displayed in a flattened profile, which serves to focus attention on this scene of sewing rather than focus on the seamstress as a portrait. The artist has chosen to include a model of a white woman in the background illiciting an interesting conceptual question: is this black seamstress toiling for the benefit of an affluent white patron? Meanwhile, the reflective bulb that hangs from above center, displays a knowledge of old dutch masters whom he perhaps quotes.

When I continued my research, searching information on this image I found out it was sold at Sotheby's New York: Wednesday, May 27, 1992

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I don't know what to make of the distinctions made in the artist's name and approximation of dates, also interesting how the image obviously looks like it has been distorted to show more details.


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